Jobe Scholarship Winners Announced!

We fêted three Masters of Arts in Children’s Literature students this year! Congratulations to Elizabeth Leung, Shanleigh Klassen, and Corey Liu, winners of the 2018 Ronald Jobe Scholarship for their achievement. They received formal recognition of this honour at the VCLR Illustrators Breakfast with guest speakers Holman Wang, Sara Gillingham, and Lee Edward Fodi on October 13th, 2018.

Past winners

Spotlight on Sara Gillingham

Sara Gillingham will be speaking and demonstrating her craft at the Annual 2018 Illustrator’s Breakfast on October 13. We asked a few questions to get to know her better. Here’s what she had to say . . .

Is there an art medium you have never tried but always wanted to? If you could, what would you do with it?

Watercolor! I’d love to make super loose, gestural character drawings – something totally different from my usual work.

Do you have a special place that you go to for inspiration? Tell us about it and why it works?

First – I go to where the children are (which, lucky for me, is my home!) – they are a constant and primary source of inspiration: how they think, what matters to them, how they draw. My second favorite place for inspiration is flea markets or my collection of vintage children’s books. I love seeing the way that people made and packaged things before the age of plastic mass-production we are in now. The materials, color palettes and typography that were used 50-60 years ago often inspire the textures and colors I use in my work.

What other jobs have you done besides children’s book illustrator?

I have (and still am) an art director and designer in children’s book publishing. I have also taught children’s book illustration at the university level and to continuing education students. Back in the old days, some other jobs I had were: substitute teacher, fabric store sales clerk, bead-party-lady, hotel front desk clerk, waitress, children’s-clothing-store clerk, tutor. As a child, I was an entrepreneur and started my own: library, stretch-pant business, jewelry business, stationery business.

Is there a children’s book illustrator whose artwork you absolutely adore and why?

There are so many incredible illustrators working today whose work I love, it is impossible to pick one. If I’m allowed to go back in time, I’d say that Bruno Munari is one of my all-time favorite illustrators. He really understood book-making and brought an elegance to children’s book design that has inspired generations of bookmakers.

Tell us about a museum or art gallery that you have visited that you really enjoyed and would recommend to others.

The Nordic Museum in Seattle, The Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood in London, The Nuremburg Toy Museum, The new Whitney Museum in New York.

What was your favourite book as a child?

I can never pick one! Professor Wormbog in Search of the Zipperumpa Zoo by Mercer Meyer, The Tale of Two Bad Mice by Beatrix Potter, Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey.

Spotlight on Lee Edward Fodi

Lee Edward Fodi will be speaking and demonstrating his craft at the Annual 2018 Illustrator’s Breakfast on October 13. We asked him a few questions to get to know him better. Here’s what he had to say . . .

Is there an art medium you have never tried but always wanted to? If you could, what would you do with it?

I think it would be collage. One of my favorite picture books as a child is Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears; I still adore that book, especially the artwork. I would probably take my cue from that book and do something with collage that involved a folktale or an artsy picture book with a poetic narrative.

Do you have a special place that you go to for inspiration? Tell us about it and why it works?

For me, inspiration is everywhere, but sometimes I do travel to specific places. For example, at the beginning of this year I specifically went to Halong Bay in Vietnam because I knew it would be key to developing a world in a book I’m working on. When I’m at home, however, and feeling a little stuck, I take my notebook and go for a walk along the seawall.

What other jobs have you done besides children’s book illustrator?

Author and educator—I teach creative writing and deliver art therapy programming to at-risk teens. I used to work full time as a graphic designer and now I still do a bit of that work for some of my author friends and for my students. I used to wonder if I was an illustrator who writes or a writer who illustrates, but now I define myself as a writer whose process involves drawing, doodling, and propbuilding. For me, the boundaries between illustration and writing keep getting blurred.

Is there a children’s book illustrator whose artwork you absolutely adore and why?

I can’t name just one! Skottie Young, Tony DiTerlizzi, and Chris Ridell are some of my favourites. I was really excited to see that Neil Gaiman’s book Fortunately, the Milk was illustrated by Chris Ridell for the UK edition and Skottie Young for the North American version. In particular I love Skottie Young’s style because it is mischievously whimsical, cartoonish, and detailed all at the same time.

Tell us about a museum or art gallery that you have visited that you really enjoyed and would recommend to others.

I have gone to many museums and galleries specifically as part of research for my books. Two specific galleries stick with me; one is the Musee d’Orsay in Paris because it is in an old converted train station and really reminded me of Hugo Cabret. So, the setting itself is beautiful, but it is also just one of the art galleries that is manageable and you can do it in a day. The other art gallery that I have a vivid memory of is the Chicago Art Institute. In addition to seeing many classic works such as Seurat’s Sunday at La Grande Jatte, there was also an excellent children’s illustration exhibit featuring original works by Eric Carle.

What was your favourite book as a child?

I already mentioned Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears, but when people ask me this question I inevitably think of the Oz series, partly because of the bizarre characters and settings, but also largely because of the design and illustration of those books, which is very art deco in their inflection. All but the first book in the series were illustrated by John R. Neill and I really loved how the illustration, typography, and design were combined to help invite readers into Baum’s worlds.

Spotlight on Holman Wang

Holman Wang will be speaking and demonstrating his craft at the Annual 2018 Illustrator’s Breakfast on October 13. We asked him a few questions to get to know him better. Here’s what he had to say . . .

Is there an art medium you have never tried but always wanted to? If you could, what would you do with it?

Digital illustration! My work is so tactile and materials-based that sometimes I fantasize about creating art “virtually.” No scrounging for materials, no mess, no clean-up! I dream about producing a graphic novel.

Do you have a special place that you go to for inspiration? Tell us about it and why it works?

I learned somewhere once that non-verbal, repetitive, physical action spurs creativity. I’ve found this to be true, as I often get my best ideas just walking my dog around the neighbourhood. I walk along the tree-lined streets of Grandview-Woodland, an area which I love.

What other jobs have you done besides children’s book illustrator?

I have been a lawyer since 2006, and am still currently practicing. I’ve also taught ESL, worked in the marketing department for the Arts Club Theatre Company, and worked as a Customs Inspector at YVR.

Tell us about a museum or art gallery that you have visited that you really enjoyed and would recommend to others.

I love the Beaty Biodiversity Museum out at UBC. It has over two million specimens (mostly in drawers), as well as an 82-foot skeleton of a female blue that was once buried in PEI (which happens to be the subject of a picture book by a friend). My kids love the museum, too.

What was your favourite book as a child?

I loved a curious little classic called Hands, Hands, Fingers, Thumb (“One thumb, one thumb, drumming on a drum.”). When I got older, I was obsessed with a book called The Big Book of Amazing Facts. Kidlit non-fiction at its best!

2018 Information Book Award Shortlist Announced

The jury for the Children’s Literature Roundtables of Canada’s Information Book Award are pleased to announce the 2018 Shortlist.

Voting, by members of the Children’s Literature Roundtables across Canada has begun and will continue through October 31, 2018.  The 2018 Information Book Award winner and honour titles will be announced in early November 2017, and the award will be presented in January 2019, in Vancouver.

Our thanks to all Canadian publishers of information books for children for participating in this award.

Download the ballot form here.

The Children’s Literature Roundtables of Canada Announce . . .

2018 Information Book Award Shortlist

(Ten Terrific Nonfiction titles published in 2017, listed alphabetically)

Biometrics: Your Body and the Science of Security. By Maria Birmingham. Illustrated by Ian Turner. Published by Owl Kids.

Eyes & Spies: How You’re Tracked and Why You Should Know. By Tanya Lloyd Kyi. Art by Belle Wuthrich. Published by Annick Press.

Fault Lines: Understanding the Power of Earthquakes. By Johanna Wagstaffe. Published by Orca Books.

Meatless? A Fresh Look at What You Eat. By Sarah Elton. Illustrated by Julie McLaughlin. Published by Owl Kids.

Speaking Our Truth: A Journey of Reconciliation. By Monique Gray Smith. Published by Orca Books.

The Sockeye Mother. By Hetxw’ms Gyetxw (Brett David Huson) and Natasha Donovan. Published by Highwater Press.

The Wolves Return: A New Beginning for Yellowstone National Park. By Celia Godkin. Published by Pajama Press.

Turtle Island: The Story of North America’s First People. By Eldon Yellowhorn and Kathy Lowinger. Published by Annick Press.

Walrus. By Herve Paniaq. Illustrated by Ben Shannon. Published by Inhabit Media.

What a Waste! Where Does Garbage Go? By Claire Eamer. Illustrated by Bambi Edlund. Published by Annick Press.

Information Book Award Jury: Vicki Donoghue, Sarah Fast, Meghan Ross, Natalie Schembri, Kate Tapping, Fiona Trotter and Michelle Yule. Chair: Danielle Wing

Roundtables voting deadline: October 31, 2018
Winner announcement: tbd November 2018
Presentation of award: tbd, January 2019
Further information/ voting submissions: [email protected]

Ballot form

Robert Heidbreder to speak at Serendipity

Robert Heidbreder was born on the wet, muddy banks of the  Mississippi River in 1947 and in 1970 he moved to the wet, misty skies of Vancouver B.C. to pursue his Master’s degree in Classical Languages.

In 1975 he became a Canadian citizen, and in the same year he completed his teaching degree at University of British Columbia. Soon after he started teaching primary children in Vancouver, he began writing because he wanted the children in his class introduced to a liveliness of language that matched their natural bounce, energy, imagination and playfulness.

His first book was Don’t Eat Spiders, published in 1985, and his newest books are Crocs at Work (2017), Song for a Summer Night (2016), and Rooster Summer, spring of 2018. His books have won and been nominated for many awards, including the BC Book Prize, The Chocolate Lily Award, The Blue Spruce Award and the Marilyn Baille Picture Book Award.

In 2002 he won the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence and in 2005 he retired from teaching after 30 years. Mr. H and His Unruly Puppets, a film by Annie O’Donoghue, celebrates Robert (“Mr H” to his grade one students) as he   transforms the Grade One curriculum into a year-long interactive drama, with a cast of over 50 puppets, led by the wise wizard Alphaterwa and the unruly Stanley C. Crow.  His passions as a poet and author are evident in a style of collaboration with young children that truly exemplifies the art of teaching.  His presentations to children in the schools and at festivals help keep the child within him alive, awake, laughing and rhyming away. In the past years he has given over 100 school and group presentations.


Tiffany Stone to speak at Serendipity 2018

There is still time to register for Serendipity 2018. If you’re a fan of poems and puns in children’s books, you won’t want to miss Serendipity 2018. Tiffany Stone, will be speaking! Warning, audience members may experience a lot of alliteration in one day.

Serendipity 2018: Beasts, birds, and words: The poetics of children’s books.

Tiffany will be speaking along with four Canadian artists/poets whose metaphors and images captivate and engage both the young and the young at heart. Join us to hear Isabelle Arsenault,  Robert Heidbreder, Kyo Maclear, Tiffany Stone, and Frédéric Gauthier of Les Éditions de la Pastèque talk about their works, their inspiration, and the Canadian children’s book publishing space.

Mar. 3, 2018 | 8am to 3:30 pm | UBC Robson Square
Final ticket sales close February 28, 2018
Includes: Coffee, snacks, lunch, book sales, and book signing.

Click here to register online.

Tiffany Stone has been playing with words for as long as she can remember. She especially enjoys penning poems and puns and using a lot of alliteration. Besides being in books, her poems have appeared in Chirp magazine, on buses for Poetry in Transit and on a plaque at Kits Beach as part of the Reading Lights initiative. Tiffany lives in Maple Ridge with her family and a plethora of pets.

Frederic Gauthier to speak at Serendipity 2018

Born in Abitibi, Frédéric Gauthier studied film production at Concordia University in Montreal. While doing so he was working in a specialised bookstore aimed at graphic novels called La Mouette Rieuse. In 1998 he co-created La Pastèque with Martin Brault. Publishing books for nearly 20 years, La Pastèque has won many prestigious awards and some of their books are translated in over 20 different countries. They now publish graphic novels and picture books for kids, with a catalog of over 250 titles.

La Pastèque has been a hugely influential publisher of bandes dessinées (comic books, or literal translation, drawn strips). Gaining significant recognition in 2010, La Pastèque won the Joe Shuster Outstanding Comic Book Publisher Award. According to a Quill & Quire article, “Frédéric Gauthier believes the availability of international titles has encouraged young Montrealers’ dreams of pursuing artistic careers. ‘When young kids see European and French books and comic books, the possibilities seem that you can work in Quebec, or in the U.S., or in France,’ he says.” Read more about Gauthier, Isabelle Arsenault and the Montreal scene in Quill and Quire.

Kyo Maclear is speaking at Serendipity 2018!

Kyo is a self-professed spork — her father is British (a foreign correspondent and documentary filmmaker) and her mother is Japanese (a painter and art dealer).  She was born in London England, where she enjoyed a brief theatrical career in London’s West End. Little did she know when she appeared in The King and I that her one line — “I believe in snow” — would be prophetic. At age four, in the midst of a very snowy winter, she and her parents moved to Toronto.

Later Kyo attended university, where she did not study dentistry or architecture (much to the great vexation and sorrow of her parents), but instead pursued a degree in Art History. She followed this degree with another vexing degree in Cultural Studies (her poor parents). Alas, though she acquired several useful skills as a longtime student (e.g., pencil sharpening, binder organization and laundry folding), neither degree led to particularly enriching employment. This is just as well because there is nothing like being hungry and bored and underemployed to fire up one’s imagination. (Kyo is now back in the university stream.  In addition to working in her busy writing life, she is now a doctoral candidate at York University where she holds a Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship.)

Spork, the story of a mixed kitchen utensil, was Kyo’s debut book for children and her first work with Isabelle Arsenault. The book was originally conceived with her husband to celebrate the birth of their first child.

Thanks to Kidscan, for information used here

Kyo Maclear’s Writing for Children   

Spork, and Virginia Wolf  (both illus. Isabelle Arsenault); Mr. Flux ( illus. Matte Stephens);   Julia Child  (illus. Julie Morstad);  The Wish Tree (illus. Chris Turnham; The Specific Ocean (illus. Katty Maurey), The Good Little Book (illus. Marion Arbona),  The Liszts (illus. Júlia Sardà); Yak and Dove (illus Esmé Shapiro); The Fog (illus. Kenard Pak) and — two new books for 2018 — Flo (illus. Jay Fleck) and  Bloom: A  Story of Fashion Designer Elsa Schiaparelli (illus. Julie Morstad).  For publishing details, see Kyo’s website.

Kyo Maclear’s Writing for Adults

Kyo Maclear comes to the Vancouver Chldren’s Literature Roundtable to talk about her books for children, but members will also want to know a little bit about what she writes for adults. She is the author of two novels: The Letter Opener (2007), which was shortlisted for the 2007 Amazon Books in Canada First Novel Award), and Stray Love (2012).

Her 2017 nonfiction book, Birds Art Life: A Year of Observation, offers an account of a year-long, big city adventure chasing after birds, and along the way offers a luminous meditation on the nature of creativity and the quest for a good and meaningful life. The experience and memoir came from Maclear’s navigating the year following the discovery that her father had a brain aneurysm. Birds Art Life was a #1 National Bestseller and, as well, a finalist for the prestigious Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction. Her website provides links to many reviews.

Her short fiction, essays and art criticism have been published in Brick, Border Crossings, The Millions, LitHub, The Volta, Prefix Photo, Canadian Art, Resilience, The Guardian, Uppercase, Quill and Quire, Shambhala Sun, Toronto Life, Azure, Brain Child, Saturday Night, The Globe and Mail, among other publications and anthologies.

Kyo lives and works in Toronto, on the traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the New Credit, the Haudenosaunee and the Huron-Wendat. She shares a home with two sons, two cats, and a singer.

 Click here to register